Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Nov. 30 -

We are expecting a mild day with not much wind. The low this morning at the Las Cruces airport was 28F and looking for a forecasted high of 61.

The AQI forecast from EPA shows good air quality for today. This is pecan harvesting time and we should be seeing some isolated impacts of that in southern NM.
We saw clear skies today but we're going to see a change in the weather as an upper level low moves into the region on Thursday afternoon. The models are showing good chances of precipitation as shown in the 5-day QPF products.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nov. 22 -
Peak rainfall amounts at southwestern NM locations ranged from 0.25" in Deming, 0.38" in Silver City, and 0.17" southwest of Las Cruces.

A hay fire near Mesquite is producing a lot of smoke this morning and causing hazy conditions mainly south of the fire toward El Paso. Right at the fire at the surface the winds were from the south but from the north aloft. Notice the billows forming in the smoke plume. The pic below was taken at 8:05 am from the frontage road.
Below is an analysis of surface winds at 7 am based on the RTMA. The fire is about half way between Las Cruces and Anthony on the west side of the road line. The color background is the surface air temperatures. Based on this analysis the surface winds were from the south.
The forecasted winds are for continued northerly winds to push the smoke south today. Below are the wind forecast from the RUC model for 18 UTC (11 am) today.
Not much activity going on at the fire site by the afternoon but still smoldering. Below is a pic from around 2:40 pm by R. Armenta.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nov. 21 - A passing cold front over the region today is generating wind blown dust at areas not receiving precipitation. The two plots below show the peak winds at the Sunland Park City Yard station starting in the morning and lasting throughout the afternoon and the plot below that shows the hourly PM10 and PM2.5 concentrations.

Temperatures were mild this morning with the low at the Las Cruces Airport at 43F and 41 at the Deming airport. Our low at NMSU was 44F this morning. At 10:15 am the Las Cruces Airport AWOS measured west winds at 26 mph with gusts to 49 mph. Overcast skies over Las Cruces also yielded some showers this  morning.
We were fortunate to receive some precipitation today as seen from the radar. Below shows the precipitation patterns across the region as of 3:03 pm with a few areas potentially getting up to 0.5 inch north of Deming.
A generous donation from the New Mexico Environment Department Air Quality Bureau has provided four used high volume particulate samplers to the Environmental Sciences Department at NMSU. Appreciation goes out to the staff at NMED AQB and Michael Baca for delivering the instruments to us. These are PM10 Wedding samplers that collect aerosols on 8x10 inch filters.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nov. 16 - Mild temperatures were observed today as highs ranged from 63 at the Las Cruces airport, 66 in Deming, and 68 in El Paso. Good air quality is forecasted for the border region according to the latest AQI forecast.
 A weak backdoor cold front is moving through the region to keep temperatures low tonight. Our forecasted low for Las Cruces will be around 37F.

A low wind, high PM event is unfolding in the Paso del Norte tonight. The Sunland Park City Yard station has recorded hourly PM10 concentrations in the 160 µg/m3 and PM2.5 at 28 µg/m3 at 7 pm.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Nov. 15 - Now that we are pretty much out of the upper level low, we should be building a high over the area the rest of the week. However a shortwave trough around Thursday will keep us from having too much warmth. Another storm system looks like it will affect us late in the week and probably over the weekend. Today the high at the Las Cruces airport was 63 degrees today.

   Yesterday           Today
High(F)  Normal     Low(F)  Normal
 64        68        38      36

For the first two weeks in November, average temperatures have been below normal. Only the eastern edge of the state saw above average temperatures.
We're expecting dry conditions over the next 5 days. 
Today's AQI forecast showed green or good air quality across all of NM today.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nov. 12 - Moisture is streaming in from the southwest. High clouds dominated today and temperatures were warm. The low at the Las Cruces airport was 45 this morning, and 42 at Deming. The QPF is still showing precipitation mainly falling in the southwest corner of the state

Evening high winds were observed around 9 pm with gusts in the range of 31 mph at the Las Cruces airport.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nov. 11 - Happy elevens day.

We're seeing a lot of high clouds over us today along the border. Below is a view out my window cam just after noon.
 We dipped below freezing at the Las Cruces airport this morning to 30 degrees. Deming bottomed out at 32. I measured 34 at my house on the east side of town.

The AQI forecast for today again shows an area of moderate air quality in Dona Ana county similar to yesterday. The Airnow website says that it is caused by ozone.
The outlook for the next couple of days is going to be controlled by an upper level low moving toward us. Currently it is off the Northern California coast but it will make its way to us by early Sunday. The forecasters are predicting some precipitation out of this system. At this point the far southwestern corner of NM will see most of the precipitation. The Sierra Madres in Mexico look to get a good amount. Again the rain will probably miss the hardest hit drought areas of southeastern NM. Below is the 5-day precipitation amounts starting from 12UTC this morning.

Max Bleiweiss and I have asked the USGS to start collecting night time Landsat 7 scenes over part of the study region to include all of Dona Ana county. Currently they are only saving daytime scenes and there are not many night scenes in their archive. Collecting night scenes will help us look at the urban heat island effects on night and morning low temperatures and wind patterns across the region. With Max's help I've just started learning ENVI so now I can view these images for myself.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nov. 9 - Missed another day posting to the blog due to a lingering head cold. It's not that bad but it's slowing me down a bit but on the mend. On the topic of weather, we're transitioning out of the trough and under a upper level ridge to warm things up a little. Today's low temperature at NMSU was 33 and 32 at the airport. The long term average low at NMSU is 38 for today. Our low temperatures have been below normal for the past few months. In fact southwest NM has been running below the long term average low and parts of Dona Ana county are in the range of 3 degrees below the average over the past two months.
The CPC weekly forecast that came out today is also showing a below normal temperatures next week.
The seasonal picture is different and likely show above averge temperatures for this winter. The CPC notice this week (Nov. 6) said "La Niña conditions are expected to gradually strengthen and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2011-12."

For today, I would normally expect a low wind event coming up but looking the winds in southern Dona Ana county, it doesn't fit the pattern. Winds at SPCY and Desert View are in the range of 4 m/s and too high for these low wind events.

Tomorrow's AQI forecast is indicating an area of moderate air quality over Dona Ana county on Thursday. They are attributing it to ozone. Another area of moderate also shows up in the Four Corners region.
We'll start our annual equipment inventory on Thursday. I hope the bar code scanner is available since a few a few of the bar codes are out in the field in Lordsburg, Columbus and Vado.

Thursday we are also doing "the Managing Drought in the southern Plains" webinar, This one is focused on water resources. I don't have an update to give but it the webinar should be good.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nov. 7 - A high wind event is taking place along the US/NM border with widespread dust blowing across the area.

This morning's low was 37F, right at the long term average low temperature for today.

The EPA Airnow forecast maps are picking up on the wind forecasts with an area of moderate air quality in El Paso and southern Dona Ana county.
At 3 pm the Sunland Park City Yard station recorded hourly PM10 of 844 µg/m3 and hourly PM2.5 of 90 µg/m3. 
 The web cam at the top of Ranger Peak in El Paso were also showing widesprea dust looking south toward Cd. Juarez.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nov. 5 - The high winds started early today with peak winds at the Las Cruces airport at 9:55 am. The airport recorded a peak west wind at 35 mph with gusts to 43 mph. Below shows the view of the dust in Las Cruces at 9:28 am looking west from a location near Solano and Missouri.
Deming had their peak wind at 8:53 am with a west wind of 30 mph with gusts to 44 mph. A clear cloud of dust could be seen from GOES throughout the day. Below is an animation of images from GOES visible obtained from UCAR.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Nov. 4 - The story today is the outlook for Saturday. The forecast is for strong winds over southern New Mexico. Possibly sustained winds in the range 23 to 30 mph with gusts in the 43 mph range.

Below shows the PM concentrations at the Sunland Park City Yard this morning. Peak hourly PM2.5 was 34 ug/m3 at 6 am. The PM2.5/PM10 ratio was 42 indicating more fine particles than usual. My guess is a little more residential burning (home heating) than fugitive dust from unpaved roads.
I am in Davis, CA today at a Western Extension climate and applications meeting at UC Davis. A little rain fell there and temperatures dropped quite a bit from a couple days ago. Lots of good discussions and sharing with state climate offices in WA, OR, CA, UT, AZ, and CO. I spent a little time at the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento meeting with a friend at lunch. I was relieved that there was very light traffic in an out of Sacramento today. The flight back to Las Cruces was a bit dicey because of high winds on a stop-over in Las Vegas. Flights were delayed and not sure if I was going to get home tonight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nov. 3 - We're looking at the another windy day along the border. PM concentrations yesterday reflected the high winds as well. Today I'm at UC Davis at a meeting discussing issues in climate with agriculture and natural resources. We're in day number two at this meeting with my presentation yesterday morning.

The AQI forecast for today is only showing green in our area. An area of moderate air quality up in the Four Corners also shows up.
Below are yesterday's PM2.5 from yesterday and early today at the Sunland Park City Yard station.
Winds lofted sand from the White Sands dune field and photos taken of the dust flowing south.